15 Foreign Airports with U.S. Customs and Immigration Preclearance Locations

by Miguel R. Quinones

us_customs

When you fly internationally to the United States, you will typically clear customs and immigration after you arrive in the U.S. However, if you are flying non-stop to the U.S. from the following fifteen foreign airports, you will actually preclear customs and immigration before you board your flight to the U.S.:

  • Calgary International Airport
  • Edmonton International Airport
  • Halifax Stanfield International Airport
  • Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
  • Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport
  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
  • Queen Beatrix International Airport (Aruba)
  • Grand Bahama International Airport (Freeport)
  • Lynden Pindling International Airport (Nassau)
  • Bermuda International Airport
  • Dublin Airport
  • Shannon Airport
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport

From these airports the same immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections of international air passengers typically performed upon arrival in the U.S. are completed before departure.

The biggest advantage of preclearance is that when you arrive in the U.S. your flight is treated as a domestic flight, which means shorter connections are possible and you will usually be able to leave the airport faster in case you are arriving into your final destination.

On the flip side, the biggest downsides of preclearance are that you are forced to arrive a little earlier at your departing airport and that you might not be able to access all the airline lounges you would have otherwise been able to access. Another downside if you have Global Entry and are flying to the U.S. from Freeport and Bermuda, is that apparently neither airport has Global Entry kiosks yet. All other airport mentioned above have Global Entry kiosks, so you are still able to enjoy your GE privileges even if preclearing.

The Department of Homeland Security has already announced its intentions to expand preclearance to the following airports:

  • Brussels Airport
  • Punta Cana International Airport
  • Narita International Airport
  • Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
  • Oslo Airport, Gardermoen
  • Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport
  • Stockholm Arlanda Airport
  • Istanbul Ataturk Airport
  • London Heathrow Airport
  • Manchester Airport

Even though I have Global Entry, which means that I rarely spend any significant time going through customs and immigration, I like the concept of preclearance. Anything that will help me get home faster after a long international flight and/or expand my connecting options is OK in my books. The key is for DHS to manage preclearance efficiently and staff the program appropriately, which is apparently where they have failed in some locations.

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8 comments
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8 comments

caveman February 17, 2016 - 10:08 am

What about DXB?

Reply
Miguel R. Quinones February 17, 2016 - 10:58 am

Not yet in the plans.

Reply
brteacher February 17, 2016 - 12:14 pm

Another advantage to this (I would think — haven’t done it) is that people can buy liquor duty-free post security and then take it with them as a carry-on through connecting flights. When I flew into MIA from BZE last week, there was a woman making a giant scene and literally screaming at TSA officers, because if she checked her alcohol, the bottles would break (they would, because she didn’t have any checked bag to put it in, and she would miss her connecting flight.

Reply
Hassan Alam May 15, 2016 - 5:28 pm

Does this mean we will get crappy departure lounges in the new airports. I remember there being very little apart from a toilet in Dublin. 🙁

Reply
What to See, Do, Eat, Drink and Where to Stay in Dublin, Ireland June 29, 2018 - 11:34 am

[…] and Aer Lingus also fly directly into Dublin from a number of US airports. When you fly home, you clear US Customs and Immigration in Dublin, rather than on arrival into a US […]

Reply
Carol September 5, 2019 - 1:36 pm

Well, rah, rah for the CBP claptrap on the ‘advantages’ of this. I see this as American over reach and intrusive. Just yesterday I returned from Dublin to the US, unaware of this ‘pre clearance’ system. So we went through security twice, back to back, consisting of the same liquids, electronics, shoes situation. Then we stood for 30 minutes in a huge line to be queried by CBP with the usual questions asked by Customs and Immigration, but here it is still done in your departure country. The final step was a photo, taken with facial recognition software to make sure that matches your passport. We were, of course, assured that this photo would be ‘immediately deleted.’ Uh huh right. Our tax $$ are paying for this new layer of so-called ‘security.’ Blech.

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Dean A Sensenich October 2, 2019 - 8:38 am

I thought the pre-clearance at Dublin was fantastic. Once your checked luggage is dropped off, You no longer have to claim it at your first USA arrival airport. Then drag it through customs and then load it back onto an airline conveyor belt. It simply arrives at your final destination with no fuss. But then again I don’t go through all that needless work of carry on luggage just to save a few dollars like many do that cause the endless lines.

Reply
Claudia February 26, 2020 - 8:22 am

Flying from Quebec City to Kansas City via Toronto. Where would you clear US Customs and Boarder Control?

Reply

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